May 31, 2019 13:02
North Korean officials rarely show up at regular Friday meetings in the new inter-Korean liaison office in Kaesong, and amid a sweeping purge of senior diplomatic officials in Pyongyang, hopes are fading that better discipline can be imposed any time soon.
A senior South Korean official told reporters on Thursday, "The two sides agreed to meet on Fridays, but we sometimes find ourselves alone in the conference room because no North Korean officials show up."
In fact the North Korean side has not shown up for 13 weeks in a row. "I think it would be better to make an appointment in future because each side has its own circumstances, rather than traveling to the liaison office every week," he added.
He said a lot of the work could be done from Seoul.
The liaison office opened in the shuttered Kaesong Industrial Complex last September after remodeling an office building at a cost of about W10 billion but has so far proved a waste of money (US$1=W1,191).
If anything it has created trouble for Seoul, which was pulled up by a UN Panel of Experts for shipping fuel to the office that could violate international sanctions.
Seoul hopes to consult with Pyongyang on how to run the liaison office after appointing a new chief representative as Vice Unification Minister Chun Hae-sung, who headed the office, resigned. His successor Suh Ho is likely to get the liaison job as well.
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